How Do You Talk to Kids About God?

No maps. No GPS. Few street signs. Those are three important reasons why I don’t drive in developing countries. I’d get lost. Raising our kids to follow Christ is a lot like trying to navigate in an under-developed country — there is no parenting map, no spiritual GPS. We head in the direction that seems best, trying to find our way by trial and error.

Hey parents: Do you want to reduce the chances that your child will follow the crowd to the point of rejecting Christ and the values and truths you hold so dearly?

It’s no secret that children of all ages are being exposed to negative criticism of Christianity as they spend time at school, with friends, or online. Are you prepared to talk with your kids about how they can effectively answer the tough questions that come their way?

I often wonder how I am going to teach my three kids about Jesus, the Bible, and the radical love of God found in these ancient pages. Do I start with the Romans road? Do I start with the Gospels, driving the Sermon on the Mount into their minds? Or do I pick and choose from the myriad of Old Testament stories, Noah and the flood, David, and Goliath?

Most parents may not give it much thought, and I believe that is a great mistake. What we teach our kids about Jesus and the Bible is of everlasting significance. We should thoughtfully and prayerfully consider how and what we teach our children. Especially when it comes to our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Starting with Jesus may seem like the best place to start. Though, there are good reasons for starting with the Apostle Paul and the Romans Road. But Mike Fabarez, author of Raising Men, Not Boys makes an interesting argument. He suggests we start at the beginning and go from there.

“Don’t get me wrong, but in one sense it is unfortunate that the first verse our boys traditionally learn is John 3:16 (i.e., “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…”). Yes, that is a fantastic and essential summary of God’s saving work motivated by His love. But it assumes a lot of foundation truths that many don’t learn until much later. In a sense teaching our boys first about God’s love is out of biblical sequence. It’s like having someone in high school tell you that “Jennifer loves you!” if I know little or next to nothing about Jennifer, or worse yet, if I imagine Jennifer to be someone she is not, learning that Jennifer loves me will end up being meaningless. (44-45)”

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

If we don’t talk to our kids about God as Creator, God as Sustainer, God as the One Who Sees Us, all characteristics revealed prior to John 3, who will they assume this God is that loves them? It would make perfect sense for them to ask “Why would God do something like sending Jesus to die?” if they have no framework or reference to the love of God that has been present since the before the world was created?

Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side

Starting with Genesis 1:1 and taking our kids on the journey with the Israelites, learning and discovering who this God is could be a great way to reveal the true heart of God. The heart that is ultimately shown in Jesus Christ. Seeing Israel realize more and more that God is not interested in blood sacrifices or physical circumcision, but the circumcision of the heart and a living sacrifice may help your kids to realize the same thing. That faith in God is not about a routine of sacred actions but the inward change that results in an outward expression of love.

Don’t get Fabarez wrong or misunderstand him. He does say “in one sense”, so I hardly think that he has forced his kids to a strict linear learning and reading of Scripture. But there is some wisdom, some insight into teaching our kids this way.

It gives you something to think about when it comes to teaching and raising your kids, doesn’t it?

My prayer is that each of your children will grow up to be, as author George Barna puts it, “an irrepressible follower of Jesus Christ who accepts the Bible as truth, lives by its principles, seeks ways to impact the world and continually deepen his or her relationship with God.”

This article was originally posted on Christian Thought Sandbox.

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By Reg Rivett

I'm a writer. I'm a thinker. I'm a reader. I'm still figuring it out. I live in Canada with my wife, beautiful kids, and annoying puppy. Talk to me. Share your thoughts below.

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